Adventist Secondary School in London Faces Assessment, Possible Closure
by AT News Team
John Loughborough School in the Tottenham neighborhood of London is run by the South England Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church with public funding. Civil authorities took steps last week toward closing the school because a “review team agreed that the school does not meet the required educational standards and has not for some time,” reports The Haringey Advertiser, a local newspaper. The team included representatives from the denomination as well as public education authorities.
Graduating secondary students in the United Kingdom all take standard examinations and just 35 percent of the Loughborough School graduates got a grade of C or higher on at least five of the exams, according to the Hornsey Journal, another local paper. The review team also looked at the quality of education provided and the finances of the school.
Parents of students and the chairman of the school board spoke at a hearing conducted by the local government council. “We understand it has been a failing school and we recognize we have fallen short and needed to do something,” Samuel Davis, school board chairman, told the hearing. “We have taken steps to address those issues [and] students are keen to stay at the school and parents want to help keep it open,” Davis was quoted by the Haringey Independent. “We appreciate it is a difficult situation but the closure of the school will disrupt the education of the children already there.” He also told the council that the school is seeking an academic partner organization to provide more resources.
Council member Ann Waters, who is responsible for issues relating to children in the local government, told the council that she understands the concerns of the parents and welcomes their involvement in the issue. “We recognize and welcome the school’s ethos and its role in the community,” she stated. “But the school’s educational achievement is not good enough and, despite the support provided by the council and the church, it doesn’t show signs of sustained improvement.”
A decision about the future of the school has been delayed pending a consultant working with the school board and faculty, starting October 1 and continuing to November 19. Tottenham is an area of concentrated poverty in the inner city of London. According to Member of Parliament David Lammy, it has the highest level of unemployment in London. It was the location of urban riots in the 1980s and again last year.
The Loughborough school is the only Adventist secondary day school in England. The British Union Conference operates a boarding secondary school at Stanborough, an outer suburb of London.
The CognitiveGenesis research project conducted for the North American Division of the denomination by the Hancock Center at La Sierra University has demonstrated that Adventist schools in North America are consistently ahead of public schools in the achievement test scores of students. Even small, one-teacher Adventist schools with limited resources provide better educational attainment than public schools.